Thanks be to God and Bea and Bob
REMARKS: June 2, 2018
The Episcopal Church's Book of Occasional Services contains the following for the Dedication of an organ or other musical instrument:
They sing to the tambourine and the lyre, and rejoice to the sound of the pipes.
Verse: Praise him with the sound of the trumpet:
Response: Praise him with lyre and harp.
Let us pray.
O Lord, before whose throne trumpets sound, and saints and angels sing the songs of Moses and the Lamb: Accept this organ for the worship of your temple, that with the voice of music we may proclaim your praise and tell it abroad; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
The people of St. Paul's are delighted to share with you the joyous re-dedication of our parish organ. The instrument has been an important fixture here for more than a century. We are pleased and proud to celebrate today its refurbishing.
How we got here is a fairly wonderful story in our view. It has given us the opportunity to honor a former St. Paul's musical director and organist here and to celebrate the restoration not only of an organ but of a relationship that was, for a while, quite strained.
Bob Dorum was the Musical Director and organist here for over a decade. He had been succeeded by Maris Kristapsons before Molly and I came to Poughkeepsie. Bob had very high standards and hopes for our choir which exceeded the interest and capacity of the singers. He wanted precise harmonies and singing in Latin and ultimately left when he realized those aspirations would go unfulfilled.
In the intervening years he started attending our midweek healing service and we were able to form a nice church friendship which did not evoke memories of his frustrations at St. Paul's.
Bob was the ultimate high churchman. I thought of him recently when I saw a video which showed the amount of incense used on Pentecost at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in New York City. St. Mary the Virgin, known in the church as Smoky Mary's, really lays it on. The far side of the church was not visible through the cloud of smoke. Bob would have loved it. That's probably one reason why he wanted his ashes to be interred at that church. Molly and Jim Schneider and I made the trip to Smoky Mary's for the interment of his ashes not long after his death.
Although not a young man, not even middle aged any longer, Bob's death came as a surprise, partly because we had celebrated his mom's 100th birthday that year. After Bob died she lived five days before dying herself. It was sad, of course, but a tidy family affair, as you can imagine.
Not much later I got a phone call from a credit union telling me they had a CD of Bob's that matured and it was in the name of St. Paul's. I went to the credit union and received a check for $104,000 as I recall. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
When Jim Schneider found out about the CD he told me he thought the beneficiary of Bob's will was St. Paul's. He investigated, only to learn that the will lacked a second witness and was invalid. After a while Jim came to me and told me that if the will was invalid it would have accrued to his mother who survived him, if only by five days. Jim started digging further and found that Bea's will was valid and she, also, named St. Paul's as beneficiary.
In the course of this church's long history we have had experiences which we attribute to God's goodness and our understanding that God wants this church to survive and thrive. The 2002 fire was a clarion call to the leadership, bringing new energy and vision to live. The roof project, with a 50% state grant, was another. The funds which Bob and Bea's estates brought the church have made possible improvements to our kitchen and our parish hall which allow us to rent it out and earn revenue which contributes significantly to our ability to pay our bills and keep the doors of the church open.
When we discussed how best to honor Bea and Bob's generosity it was quickly clear that organ restoration, long a dream, was feasible. We have enjoyed the restored instrument today and for a few months, now. We cannot hear its brighter and stronger tones, not to mention its deeper more powerful voice without imagining the pleasure it would have given Bob to know he and his mom helped make it happen and are being honored in the process. Bea would have been pleased but likely couldn't have enojyed it, as she was stone deaf. Sharp as a tack, but stone deaf.
Let us pray.
Gracious and loving God,
You brought to this fine old church Bob Dorum, to practice his musical arts and to find joy in its midst. We thank you for giving to us Bob and, by extension, his mother Bea, whose generosity we celebrate and acknowledge this day.
May your saints in heaven, including Bea and Bob, hear the sweet sounds of this refurbished instrument and know that the people of St. Paul's delight in it, in their gift, and in giving glory to you, the God and Father of all.
We ask your blessing on the instrument and all who play it. May the spirit of love which your son Jesus taught till his earthly end be heard in this organ's sound and in all accompanying voices. Amen
Please permit me to acknowledge the organists and other musicians at today's recital, especially Maris Kristapsons, our Music Director, who has supervised the refurbishing of the organ and led the choir with keyboard or piano when the organ was not available during repairs. Thanks, too, to Steven Rosenberry, the refurbishing contractor, whose work has brought us such delight.
And thanks to all of you for attending this recital and ceremony. Drop by again (and again) to enjoy its sound! Peace!
Remarks at the de-dedication of the organ at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY, on June 2, 2018 by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector